By Rene Bonsubre,Jr
In a country that regularly produces topmost boxing talent, even a boxer as gifted as Marlon Tapales (33-2,16KO’s) will struggle when it comes to name recognition. That may soon change if he can capitalize on his biggest fight on U.S. soil against Japanese Ryosuke Iwasa (26-3,16KO’s) for the IBF interim world super bantamweight title at the Barclays Center in New York.
Tapales, who is training in California, told this writer that they will be leaving for New York on Wednesday. Asianboxing has already reported that Iwasa left Japan last Monday to acclimatize to the conditions in the U.S.
“I am just three pounds over the limit, there will be no problems at the weigh-in,” Tapales told this writer in a short chat.
This will be battle of southpaws. The 29 year old Iwasa is a former IBF world champion at this weight category. Two years ago, he stopped countryman Yukinori Oguni in six rounds in Osaka for the title. He beat Filipino Ernesto Saulong by unanimous verdict in his first defense but lost in his second defense to Australian TJ Doheny by unanimous decision.
Daniel Roman of the U.S., who is the unified IBF/WBA champion in the 122 lb. division, was reported to have suffered a shoulder injury in training camp last September paving the way for this interim title bout.
In earlier conversation with this writer, Tapales stated that he already saw Iwasa in action. This was in February when Iwasa fought in California and beat Mexican Cesar Juarez by tenth round technical decision. Tapales was on the undercard and beat Mexican Fernando Vargas Parra in five rounds.
“I have seen him fight in person,” Tapales said, “I know I can take him. I feel stronger at 122 pounds.”
“I want to be a world champion again. I am training hard and praying for that to happen.” Tapales concluded.
The 27 year old Tapales from Lanao del Norte in the Philippines. He got a lot of attention from the press in 2016 when he stopped Pungluang Sor Singyu (Panya Uthok) in Ayutthaya, Thailand for the the WBO bantamweight world title. Tapales had to rise from the canvas twice in the fifth, endure the pain from brutal body shots, to stop the Thai in round eleven.
The attention from this made-for-Hollywood performance was short-lived. Tapales’ career took a strange turn when his handlers could not stage a title defense for him at home.
He was inactive for nine months and would then lose his title during the weigh-in in Japan. He checked in more than a pound above the division limit of 118. The title was declared vacant but the fight pushed through with Tapales winning by eleventh round TKO. He decided to move up one division higher but had to wait seventeen months for another fight against Tanzanian Goodluck Mrema in Metro Manila, which lasted less than a round.
Things began to look up when he signed with Manny Pacquiao’s company, MP Promotions and got two fights in the United States. He stopped Mexicans Fernando Vargas Parra in five rounds and Roberto Castañeda in three.
Iwasa is ranked number one by the IBF while Tapales the number three contender. They will be one of the main supporting attractions for the WBC world middleweight title fight between Jermall Charlo and Dennis Hogan.
Photo – Ryosuke Iwasa (left) and Marlon Tapales
These articles are submitted by guest writers and sites. They aren't submitted by the usual folk behind Asian Boxing and don't fall in line with our editorial stance, giving a fresh view on various boxing issues from the Asian boxing scene.